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Article
Publication date: 28 January 2014

M.S. Rao

The purpose of this paper is to bridge the gap between campus and industry among the management and engineering students to enhance their employability. It equips students

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to bridge the gap between campus and industry among the management and engineering students to enhance their employability. It equips students and faculty with creative tools and techniques to acquire soft skills and provides a new perspective to the discipline of soft skills.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper designs an interview questionnaire containing both open and close-ended questions to elicit responses from faculty, students, recruiters, and directors of educational institutions.

Findings

The study found that there must be effective coordination among faculty, students, industry and directors of educational institutions for enhancing employability skills among students. It places emphasis on the role of Training and Placement Officer (TPO) in the educational institutions for better employability and calls for promotion of finishing schools to enhance employability.

Research limitations/implications

The article relies on limited survey and interview data from one particular district in India and from students of engineering and management education only.

Practical implications

The study can be applied in any part of the world as there is a problem of unemployability everywhere currently.

Originality/value

The paper adds value to the little literature available in the area of soft skills. It sets the agenda for discussion in soft and hard skills and employability, presents problems and prospects and calls for blending both hard and soft skills to enhance employability.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 46 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

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Article
Publication date: 13 May 2021

Timothy Oluwafemi Ayodele, Oluseyi Joshua Adegoke, Kahilu Kajimo-Shakantu and Olaitan Olaoye

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the soft skill gap of graduate employees, as well as the factors influencing the skill gaps of real estate graduates in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the soft skill gap of graduate employees, as well as the factors influencing the skill gaps of real estate graduates in the employment of real estate firms in Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach

Primary data were employed for the study. Close-ended questionnaire served on real estate employers in the two major property markets of Nigeria: Lagos and Abuja. From a total of 343 questionnaires administered, 172 (59.7%) questionnaires were retrieved. While data from the graduate employees were obtained via a web-based survey sent out to a total of 558 graduates, 119 (21.33%) responses were received. Descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were employed in the data analysis.

Findings

The findings showed that employers had high expectations for soft skillsets relating to responsibility, administrative, listening and communication skills. These have respective mean scores of 6.38, 6.33, 6.31 and 6.31 on a seven point scale. However, the results revealed significant skill gaps with skills such as logical thinking, business negotiation, responsibility and marketing. Further, the analysis revealed that factors influencing the skill gap, in decreasing order of influence, are training/professional mentors/remuneration, personal preferences/industry characteristics and curriculum/faculties.

Practical implications

Real estate graduate soft skills are investigated to uncover areas of emphasis and skill gaps. These outcomes could serve as important feedbacks for stakeholders towards improving real estate teaching and curriculum. The findings could also assist real estate graduates to know employers areas of emphasis in relation to graduate employability skills.

Originality/value

Extant studies have reiterated and evaluated the soft skills gaps based on the perceptions of employers, faculties and institutions of higher learning. However, there is the need to investigate the perception of graduate employees, being the recipient and major stakeholders in the training process.

Details

Property Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-7472

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Article
Publication date: 22 December 2020

Sajjad Ahmad, Kanwal Ameen and Shehzad Ahmad

The purpose of this study is to investigate the self-perceptions of university information professionals about the current state of their soft skills and to highlight the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the self-perceptions of university information professionals about the current state of their soft skills and to highlight the barriers faced in the development of such skills.

Design/methodology/approach

A sequential mixed method research design using a questionnaire followed by in-depth interviews as data collection tools were used to achieve the objectives of the study. Self-completion questionnaires were used to collect the data from 560 respondents spread over 33 universities of Pakistan. Then, 21 interviews were conducted with purposely selected library and information professionals at the qualitative phase.

Findings

The findings of the survey revealed that the majority of the information professionals perceived themselves “moderately competent” in soft skills. Only 14.8% information professionals considered themselves “competent”. The qualitative findings revealed that university library and information professionals generally faced several barriers in the development of their soft skills that included “lack of administrative support”, “lack of personal commitment”, “lack of financial support by the parent organizations”, and so many others, which might have affected their current levels of soft skills.

Research limitations/implications

The possible limitation of this study may be the bias of the respondents, toward their self-judgment. During interviews, most of the assistant librarians were not comfortable and expressive. This might be due to lack of soft skills knowledge, interview anxiety and poor communication skills.

Originality/value

This research is the first study in Pakistan that dealt with the state of soft skills and barriers in its development among university library and information professionals having a large number (N = 372) of respondents.

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Article
Publication date: 5 November 2020

Sajjad Ahmad, Shehzad Ahmad and Kanwal Ameen

The purpose of this paper is to study the self-perceptions of university information professionals about continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities regarding…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the self-perceptions of university information professionals about continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities regarding their soft skills.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative design using in-depth interviews was used. The population was all the information professionals working in the public sector universities of Pakistan, but the geographic range of the population, to reduce travelling expenses and to complete the study in time, the interviews were restricted to the universities of the capital city Islamabad and provincial capital Peshawar. A total of 21 interviews were conducted using a snowball sampling technique to select information professionals.

Findings

The findings revealed that only three information professionals attended CPD opportunities in soft skills. More than half of the information professionals stated that CPD programmes have an overall “good” impact on the development of their soft skills. Similarly, more than half of the participants stated that CPD training opportunities on soft skills are very limited. The majority of the participants held professional associations responsible for the development of information professionals’ soft skills. It was also found that communication and persuasion skills, self-management skills and interpersonal skills were the top three soft skill categories for which they urged CPD programmes.

Research limitations/implications

During interviews, most of the Assistant Librarians were not expressive and comfortable. This might be because of a lack of their soft skills knowledge, poor communication skills and interview anxiety.

Originality/value

According to the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first of its kind in Pakistan that dealt with the CPD opportunities regarding soft skills of university information professionals using a qualitative research design.

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Article
Publication date: 23 July 2020

Timothy Oluwafemi Ayodele, Timothy Tunde Oladokun and Kahilu Kajimo-Shakantu

The global shift in the traditional skills required of real estate graduates has led to an increased demand for employees who have the required skills and competencies…

Abstract

Purpose

The global shift in the traditional skills required of real estate graduates has led to an increased demand for employees who have the required skills and competencies. The purpose of this study is to evaluate employment considerations of real estate firms and analyse employers’ skill expectations and the observed skills possessed by the graduate employees. This study also analysed the self-assessed soft skill levels of the graduate employees, thereby establishing the skill gap.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were sought from real estate employers in the two dominant real estate markets of Nigeria: Lagos and Abuja, and real estate graduate employees who have had a minimum of six months working experience in real estate firms. Data collected were analysed using statistical techniques such as frequency, percentages, mean, correlation, multivariate analysis of variance, paired-samples t-test and independent samples t-test.

Findings

The findings of this study revealed that employers’ soft skills expectations were high with skills such as responsibility, administrative, listening, communication, business negotiation and work ethics. Based on employers' observed skills, there were significant skill gaps with respect to soft skills such as responsibility, business negotiation, logical thinking, marketing and dispute resolution. An analysis of the core skills reveals employers' preference for technical competencies in valuation, agency, property management, marketing, report writing and landlord and tenant laws. However, graduate employees possessed significant skill gaps with regards to technical skills such as valuation, property investment analysis, feasibility and viability appraisal, market research methods and facility management.

Practical implications

An understanding of the skill gaps will provide useful feedback to professional bodies, regulatory boards, institutions of higher learning, faculty members and other stakeholders regarding deficient skill areas, especially for curriculum review, development and training in the real estate sector.

Originality/value

There is a paucity of information about employers' skill preferences and the skill gaps in the real estate sector.

Details

Journal of Facilities Management , vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-5967

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Article
Publication date: 17 December 2019

Sui Pheng Low, Shang Gao and Eileen Wan Leng Ng

The disparity between employers’ expectations and the ability of graduates to meet them is an issue for employment. Industry 4.0, represented by technologies like big data…

Abstract

Purpose

The disparity between employers’ expectations and the ability of graduates to meet them is an issue for employment. Industry 4.0, represented by technologies like big data and automation, permeate the construction industry, exacerbating the rift of changing expectations that future graduates must bridge. As sophisticated forms of technology emerge, the ways individuals work are also expected to change. Soft skills are needed to support, materialise, and enhance the workforce’s existing technical skills. The purpose of this paper is to explore the effect of Industry 4.0 on employability in the local construction industry from the viewpoint of employers and future graduates.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopts mixed-methods sequential explanatory design, quantitative followed by qualitative. The questionnaire survey crosschecked the needs and expectations of employers in the local construction industry, regarding these nine soft skills and the extent to which students currently possess them, to determine whether students from the construction industry are Industry 4.0-ready. Qualitative interviews were also conducted with employers in the construction industry and PFM students to further understand the disparity between the survey results of the two parties.

Findings

Gap analyses and t-test results found six significant divides in nine soft skills – resilience, curiosity, adaptability, entrepreneurial thinking, pursuing convictions and vision – showing a significant difference between the mean expectations of employers and the soft skills capabilities of graduate students. Future graduate students thus lack the soft skills needed by Industry 4.0. The reasons for this significant difference and the barriers to improving soft skills are explored through interviews with employers and future graduates. Three parties – government, educational institutions and industry – were identified as crucial partners in change.

Originality/value

Little has been researched about the future strategies and mindsets required by the workforce to prepare for the changes brought by Industry 4.0. Likewise, the government’s and companies’ one-sided focus on promoting skill-upgrading leaves many to wonder about the soft skills needed to stay competitive. Hence, it is timely to examine the readiness of Singapore’s future graduates in the construction industry in adapting to Industry 4.0’s requirements in terms of soft skills.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 November 2017

Sajjad Ahmad, Kanwal Ameen and Midrar Ullah

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the university information professionals (UIPs) preferred modes of soft skills learning and differences in their opinions based…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the university information professionals (UIPs) preferred modes of soft skills learning and differences in their opinions based on gender, designations and experience.

Design/methodology/approach

Quantitative research design using a questionnaire was used for data collection. Data were analyzed through SPSSS version 20.0, using descriptive and inferential statistics. The population of the study included all the UIPs working in the central libraries of the general public sector 33 universities in Pakistan, with nearly a population of 560.

Findings

The major findings showed that “mentoring sessions by experts” was the most preferred mode of soft skills learning followed by “learning from colleagues”. It showed that UIPs preferred to learn soft skills from experts and colleagues. Independent-samples t-test results found that “mentoring session by experts” was more preferred by females than males. A one-way ANOVA results found significant differences of opinion regarding the “mentoring session by experts” method between librarians and assistant librarians (p = 0.044). Results were statistically significant also between more experienced and less experienced regarding “real project/assignment-based method” and “mentoring session by experts”. In addition, for “formal online courses” and “self-training through reading books”, results were statistically significant between experienced groups of 1-5 years and 11-15 years. Overall results indicated that from UIPs’ perspective, soft skills should be taught to them using face-to-face methods.

Originality/value

This is the first study in Pakistan that dealt with the preferred modes of soft skills learning of UIPs by using a large group (N = 372) of respondents.

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Article
Publication date: 11 February 2019

Anjana Singh and Prashanti Jaykumar

Tourism and hospitality is one of the fastest growing segments of the services industry in India, and there is tremendous need and opportunity for young, educated and…

Abstract

Purpose

Tourism and hospitality is one of the fastest growing segments of the services industry in India, and there is tremendous need and opportunity for young, educated and qualified professionals. Academics and employers agree that there is an increasing gap between the soft skills that companies expect from their entry-level employees and the skills that these young people possess. To bridge this gap, industry leaders and researchers indicate the need for more soft skills training. The purpose of this paper is to identify soft skills competencies that are required for a diverse group of entry-level employees and then to identify gaps by exploring the hospitality programme and internships.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is analytical in nature and draws on a literature review and a questionnaire as a survey tool for stakeholders. The research had separate questionnaires for employers, students and faculty members of the Vedatya Institute, educator for the service industry. The research is focused on entry-level employees – students who had graduated from Vedatya Institute in the past five years. The employers are primarily general managers and human resource managers of five-star hotels who have recruited and been part of campus interviews.

Findings

The research analysed soft or employability skills for the hospitality industry, and it provided valuable insights from employers and perceptions of graduates in attainment of those skills during their degree programme. The study highlighted the significant role of internship in developing soft skills.

Practical implications

The paper recommends practical solutions for educators and organizations that can be applied. The research synthesized current thinking on required soft skills for young entry-level employees and explores the soft skills gap in the context of a growing soft skills training market with recommendation for stakeholders.

Originality/value

The research sought to address the real life problem impacting the hospitality industry in India using inputs from the literature, graduates and employers.

Details

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-4217

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2010

R. de Villiers

This paper explores the changing needs of employers and the business community in relation to the balance between technical and soft skills, such as communication skills

Abstract

This paper explores the changing needs of employers and the business community in relation to the balance between technical and soft skills, such as communication skills, business presentation skills and other interpersonal skills. The researcher discusses the importance of soft relational skills for all business graduates, including accountants. The study further explains how soft skills can complement the technical skills taught to ensure that graduates are equipped to deal with the demands of a complex global business environment. The needs of different stakeholders, possible barriers to change and the way in which academic faculty can contribute are reviewed.

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 April 2019

Chiara Succi and Michaela Wieandt

A fast-changing environment entails several reflections about skills and attitudes required to face the increasing complexity brought by the “glocal, liquid and networked”…

Abstract

Purpose

A fast-changing environment entails several reflections about skills and attitudes required to face the increasing complexity brought by the “glocal, liquid and networked” world in which workers operate (Bauman, 2003; Clarke, 2017). In the literature, an increased attention has been devoted to the impact of interpersonal skills and personal characteristics on employability (Heckman and Kautz, 2012; Succi, 2019; Wheeler, 2016). In this context, the so-called soft skills become of crucial importance, but a lack of academic attention devoted to their development, and a deficit of companies in integrating soft skills in their selection, induction and training processes have been identified (Hurrell, 2016). The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory study has been designed to describe the tools in use to assess soft skills, during the recruitment process and those to develop soft skills of graduates, during their first years on the job. In January 2017, two symmetrical online questionnaires have been sent to 500 HR managers and 240 graduates of a European business school, in Italy and Germany.

Findings

Results show that graduates and managers describe differently the use of tools to develop graduates’ soft skills. The large majority of HR managers indicate they offer formal training to young graduates and that they are involved in the performance appraisal sessions, while only 22 percent of students confirm they receive formal training and only 26 percent declare to be inserted in a performance appraisal process. Moreover, concerning the assessment of soft skills during the selection process, significant differences between Italian and German companies emerged.

Research limitations/implications

This research constitutes the first step to acknowledge the lack of initiatives devoted to soft skills development, despite their rising importance for the job market.

Practical implications

Findings allow initiating a discussion about a strategic topic in human resources management: whose responsibility is it to develop soft skills? Should graduates, higher education or companies fill the gap? The study can be extended to other types of higher education institutions, and a qualitative research could deepen the understanding of root causes of the differences identified.

Social implications

The impact on youth employment, reduction of labor skills mismatch and improvement of managerial practices could be interesting social implications of the study.

Originality/value

While previous research has predominantly focused on higher education executives and HR managers, this paper’s contribution consists in involving young graduates in the reflection on employability.

Details

European Journal of Management and Business Economics, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2444-8494

Keywords

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